Use these search tips to find the articles you need for your research paper and projects.
These tips can also be used for better Internet searching too!
What is a keyword?
A word used as a reference point for finding other words or information.
“Keyword Also Key Word.” The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language. Eds. The Editors of the American Heritage Dictionaries. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2011. Credo Reference. Web. 3 June 2015.
Why do I want to use them?
Keywords are the main words of your topic. They help you find research in the world of information.
- Use academic or professional language when you are conducting research in order to find the most scholarly materials on your topic.
- Avoid unnecessary words like effect, affect, study, research or journal when searching library databases.
- Put quotation marks around your words to search as an exact phrase
- “climate change“
- Use an asterisk to search for words with similar endings.
- teen* would find teen, teens, teenage, teenager, teenaged.
- Use a question mark or hashtag symbol to search for similarly spelled words at the same time
- woman and women (wom#n, wom?n).
- Databases tend to use the question mark; search engines the hashtag symbol.
- Use AND to combine your main keywords together. This happens automatically in search engines.
- “Lake Erie” AND “climate change”.
- Use OR in databases and web searching to search for two words that can be used interchangeably.
- neonate OR infant OR newborn
- Use NOT to eliminate a word or topic from your search. Many search engines use a minus sign (-) to eliminate words.
- vaccines NOT autism